Family life

Our parents won't be around forever — this site proves it

If you could use a calculator to countdown the time you have left with your parents, would you?


Photo: iStockphoto

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Before my dad dies, I’ll get to see him 50 more times. A measly 50, or so says the website, which offers a life-expectancy-type calculator that pops out some sobering number that countdowns your face time with family members. The Globe and Mail joking calls the site a “guilt trip” and I can see why — especially for those of us who only get to see our parents a few times a year. (Be prepared for a real gut punch if you’re trying to calculate how many visits you have left with your grandparents. With my grandfather, who’s 98, the site won’t tell me anything except he’s already lived 16 years beyond his life expectancy — how grim.)

So what do you do with information like this? Say you live three provinces apart and “dropping by for a visit” requires airfare and vacation days, do you accept that 50 is better than 25, and make the most of that fleeting time together? Or, do you pack your bags and uproot your life to be closer to your folks, so your kids have their grandparents on the regular?

And there’s that guilt trip The Globe was talking about.

Read more: Dealing with grandparent guilt>

But even those who live a short drive from their family still sometimes can’t manage to get together for regular dinners or surprise pop-ins. We all have good intentions but life gets busy. Then weeks pass by and suddenly you can’t remember the last time you saw them… Surely, it was last month? Wasn’t it? Had to be!

So, what to do?

Well, we probably shouldn’t fret over a random number dished out by Though their dramatic tagline — We’re so busy growing up we sometimes forget they are also growing old — certainly hits you where it hurts. But it’s a good reminder that’s there an expiry date on our relationships so we need to connect any way we can whether that’s face-to-face or face-to-screen via Skype, or sending an old fashioned letter (you know can still do that, right?).

Curious to know much time you have left with your parents? Find out here.

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